An event originally designed to help small businesses deal with slumping summer sales has been rescheduled and repurposed to help those same businesses recoup some of the sales they lost because of Hurricane Irma.
Shop & Play was originally supposed to be held on Wilton Drive Sept. 13 through 20 and feature discounts provided by participating businesses. But when the storm had passed and cleanup efforts began on Sept. 11, Wilton Drive was still days away from having power restored.
The new dates are Wednesday, Oct. 25 to Tuesday, Oct. 30.
“We understand the stresses we’re all going through. The concept is to bring people to The Drive. This is out of necessity. They’ve lost two weeks of business,” said Peter Clark, publisher of Hotspots, which has partnered with the Wilton Manors Business Association, and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to put on the event. “Let’s bring some excitement back to The Drive . . . bring The Drive alive.”
Clark said Wilton Drive is more than just its bars and restaurants. It’s doctor’s offices, retail shops, professional offices, thrift stores, and more. Saturday, Oct. 14 marked the ribbon cutting of the new Wilton Drive office of the South Florida Symphony Orchestra.
“You name it, we have it,” said Clark.
He said 20 business owners, at no cost to them, have signed-up and he expects as many as 60 will have done so by the time of the event. The list of participating business will be published by Hotspots the week of the event.
In his presentation to commissioners at their Oct. 10 meeting, Clark asked that the city make parking free on Wilton Drive and in the city lots for two hours on Saturday, Oct. 28 – from 6 to 8 p.m.
Commissioners approved his request.
“There’s a lot of businesses hurting. It’s a great idea,” said Mayor Gary Resnick. City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson praised Clark and the other organizers for working with the city on the event rather than just asking the city to do something for them.
Business owners can sign-up at the website to become a participant. Those who do will receive a decal they can place in their storefront window to let customers know they are participating. It’s up to each individual business owner to decide what kind of discount they want to give.
Only customers wearing Shop & Play Wilton wristbands will be able to receive discounts, which can be obtained at participating businesses.
Visit shopplaywilton.com for more information.